LA Ballet Commences Summer Season

summer08pic“It is everything I know about classical ballet, in 13 minutes,” said George Balanchine of his “Allegro Brillante,” set to music of Tchaikovsky.

The tour de force for five couples enters the repertory of The Los Angeles Ballet as part of the LAB Summer Repertoire 2008, for five performances from April 25 through May 24, in various venues around greater Los Angeles.

The program also marks the LAB premiere of “The Evangelist” to music by Charles Ives. The dramatic pas de deux, choreographed in 1992 for LAB artistic directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen by visionary American choreographer Lar Lubovitch, was inspired by the three-ring media circus that was Aimee Semple McPherson. Between founding the Foursquare Church and preaching to millions of devoted followers on the radio, McPherson rose to notoriety in 1920’s Los Angeles through sex scandals and power struggles, at one point staging her own bogus ‘kidnapping’ which provoked a month-long, nation-wide hysteria.

A pair of dances from Bournonville’s Napoli, “Pas de Six” and “Tarantella” return from last year. “I grew up in the Bournonville repertory in Denmark,” Christensen tells FineArtsLA. “The company danced these two excerpts very well last year, and the work has really become theirs, now.”

In keeping with the company’s ongoing project of presenting new works from local artists, Summer Rep 2008 offers a world premiere by Jennifer Backhaus, of Backhaus Dance. “Jennifer is a very dynamic choreographer,” Christensen says. “She uses a different dance vocabulary, which allows our dancers to broaden their horizons.” The dance, utilizing the entire company, is LAB’s second commissioned work to premiere this season.

LAB performs on April 25 and 26 at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse; May 3 at Glendales’s Alex Theatre; May 17 at Irvine’s Barclay Theatre; and May 24 at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. On the May 17 program, Balanchine’s Gershwin tribute, “Who Cares?” replaces “Pas de Six” and “Tarantella.”

For more information, visit www.losangelesballet.org, or call 310-998-7782.

- Penny Orloff

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